Tuesday, 20 April 2010

FANTASY REVIEW: Solomon Kane: The Movie Novelisation - Ramsey Campbell


Solomon Kane is a 16th century anti-hero created by Robert E. Howard (creator of Conan the Barbarian). When Solomon Kane (James Purefoy of Rome) meets the Devil s Reaper, he postpones his fate by renouncing violence a vow that is soon tested by the forces of evil. As Kane once again straps on his weapons, he embarks on an epic journey of redemption. Written and directed by Michael J. Bassett, the film also stars Rachel Hurd-Wood, Pete Postlethwaite, Alice Krige, Mackenzie Crook, Jason Flemyng and Max von Sydow as Josiah Kane.


When I originally heard about the movie finally making an appearance, I was more than happy that this character made his big screen debut. Then I started hearing from people that it was completely different to the RE Howard characters within. That said, you’ll always get the fans who hate whatever has been done with any character/book adaptation. So I decided to give this a go, purely for the fact that I’m not all that fey with the Solomon Kane novels.

What unfurled within (for those who don’t have a clue currently) is a cross between a medieval Spawn and Van Helsing. Whilst that’s not a bad thing it did only really leave the title only one route to travel which it did pretty well, but I put that mainly in the hands of the producers putting their money where their mouth is and utilising a damn fine writer with a lot of clout within the genre, Ramsey Campbell. It’s action packed, it’s got great fight sequences but it did make the character feel pretty one dimensional and with the trials and tribulations faced within it did show how far Ramsey must have been pushed to get a tale with a few more troughs and peaks than I think the film would have allowed. It was always going to be an uphill struggle but he turned what could have been just a cash in, into a reasonable product that will amuse a number of readers.

1 comment:

Taranaich said...

"That said, you’ll always get the fans who hate whatever has been done with any character/book adaptation."

This really isn't the case here: even the Howard fans who enjoyed Solomon Kane (myself among them) assert that the character is completely different. It isn't like, say, Iron Man fans who hate updating the setting, or Spider-Man fans who hate the webslingers: these are largely minor changes in comparison to the larger similarities.

Kane's motivations, character traits, personal history, and the world he lives in are completely and utterly altered. Still, it's probably better going in without prior knowledge, as that would likely allow you to enjoy the film more. Taken on its own merits, and not judged as an adaptation, it's a fairly good film.